MagicBagley18 wrote:Brad has to go with Hayward off the bench...I know that seems obvious but if he ever went back to him starting immediately it really would f things up.
What Brad has to do at this point is coach to win. It first means, assess where Hayward is really at in practice and/or drills. If he doesn't look good and still wants to play, I would have a very quick leash. Get him out quick in that circumstance if he isn't moving well. But the more I think about it, I can see another scenario where it makes sense for him to start and play around 25 minutes.
But Stevens just needs to coach to win.
If it means Hayward off the bench for a game or entire playoffs, bring Hayward off the bench.
If it means, K Walker off the bench, bring Walker off the bench.
If it means, J Brown off the bench, bring Brown off the bench.
Smart/Tatum/Theis appear to be the no brainer starters heading into the first game Hayward comes back. Case can be made for bringing one of the the other 3 players off the bench.
Part of the decision really comes down to do you want Hayward/Brown/Walker on the court when Herro is in the game or Duncan Robinson. The Heat in the playoffs have been treating Herro as the better player by playing him more minutes. 33 minutes per game for Herro vs 25 for Robinson. But Robinson is the official starter.
Factors like this should figure into Stevens thinking. I sure hope Stevens has enough backbone that he is willing to upset players that are not the role players. He wasn't willing to do it with Kyrie Irving for perhaps somewhat understandable reasons.
But it isn't a crazy idea at all to start Hayward if he is moving well since if he isn't moving well, he realistically perhaps should not be out on the court at all. Whenever you put Hayward into the game it will be a risk. Hayward or anyone else screwing up to start the game is no worse that screwing up 8 minutes into the game. Baskets scored or given up at that point of the game count as well.
Before folks say it is a completely nutty idea to bring Brown off the bench, realize Hayward if he has his mobility has more playmaking skills than Brown and that could get K Walker going.
And even if you don't think Hayward is one of the Celtics 5 best players in his first game back whenever he gets back, the Heat and other teams in the past do not necessarily start their five best players.
It really is a sign of team disfunction/immaturity if Stevens doesn't have complete freedom to do what he thinks is best for the team. If Stevens looks at it that way and Hayward is moving great, it becomes a tough decision for a variety of reasons. Just one thing that folks don't think about... If Stevens wants Hayward to play 25 minutes very hard on both ends like he did in the Philly playoff game -- and Stevens should demand that of Hayward -- , given he hasn't been in NBA games in a while, it may be easier for him to do it from a rest perspective as a starter.
And KG as great as he is is kind of wrong with his evaluation of Hayward/Celtics this year. Celtics have beaten one very good team in this years playoffs. That team had Gasol and Siakam playing like crap on offense. Some of that was Boston but Siakam was relatively open from 3 and was 4 for 32. As we saw in game 1 vs Miami, sometimes players hit those semi contested and uncontested 3's. A lot of those misses were luck and Siakam not completely getting his game back. Siakam is not as good as Tatum but he is better than what he showed in the bubble. He was just out of sync. If Boston played Philly with Simmons and struggled to beat that team in 7 and then lost to the Raptors in 7, KG would probably be singing an entirely different tune.
With this post, I am not saying at all to cater to Hayward but I don't think the Celtics should be catering to Kemba or Brown either. Stevens needs to pull a BB and just cater to the team. And have a realistic perspective of what the team has accomplished so far. They have beaten the gritty defending champs with Lowry/Gasol one year older and Siakam with his game out of sync and the Raptors 1A star and Finals MVP on a different team. Still good accomplishment to do that without Hayward but not a sign at all that losing Hayward is addition by subtraction.
Stevens just has to coach like his own job is on the line if he loses the series and coach to win this series. Once you let all of those other factors in, you get smashed like what Milwaukee did to Boston last year.